Average Joes drive gaming win higher | NevadaAppeal.com

Average Joes drive gaming win higher

Welcome back, Joe Six Pack.

Resorts across the state are hailing February’s gaming numbers as growing evidence that the average tourist is returning to Nevada casinos.

In both December and February, the total gaming “win” – the casinos’ take from gaming, excluding food, drinks, lodgings or other revenue – increased despite decreases in baccarat.

Gaming Control Board analyst Mike Lawton said that hasn’t happened since May 2007.

The total win of $932.2 million was up 5.7 percent despite the fact that the game and table win (which excludes slots) was down nearly 1 percent compared with a year ago.

Table games brought in $360.6 million for resorts statewide.

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Slot win totaled $571.5 million, 10.3 percent higher than the previous year and the largest percentage increase since September 2007.

Carson Valley casinos reported a 3.5 percent increase to $7.86 million. But it was an easy comparison, since win was down 2.9 percent in February 2011.

For the seven months of the fiscal year to date, that still leaves Carson, which includes portions of Douglas County, down 1.2 percent.

“The core customer really came through heavy this month,” Lawton said.

For much of the past two years, monthly casino win has depended largely on the high rollers.

February also was the fifth straight month of year-over-year increases – the first time that’s happened since 2006. That increase came despite the fact that Chinese New Year was in January this year. That event – a major draw, particularly for high rollers – was in February a year ago.

Every reporting area in the state except North Lake Tahoe and parts of Elko and Laughlin counties was up in February.

Baccarat was down 14.3 percent to $408 million as both the play and the win percentage fell.

Minus baccarat, total statewide win would have been up 10.4 percent over last year.

South Shore casinos at Tahoe had a banner month. Total win of $15.1 million is 10.25 percent above last February. That is the third consecutive month of increases at Stateline and puts those casinos 6.44 percent ahead of where they were at this point last fiscal year. Both slot win and game and table win were up more than 10 percent. Slot play was up nearly 14 percent. The amount wagered on games was actually down 15.5 percent, but the hold percentage – what the casinos kept – was up from 13 percent a year ago to 17.2 percent this February.

North Shore casinos at Tahoe suffered a 7.5 percent decrease after a 15.5 percent decrease a year ago. The major culprit was the blackjack tables, which saw a $242,000 decrease in win – nearly all of the area’s $249,000 decrease. That dragged game and table win down almost 40 percent.

Washoe County casinos as a whole did very well, posting an 8.1 percent increase to $60.3 million.

Churchill County casinos, like South Shore, had an excellent month. Total win increased 15 percent to $1.97 million. Blackjack win jumped 110 percent, but that only accounts for $34,000 or so of the total. Total slot win was $1.89 million, a 14.5 percent increase.

The Las Vegas Strip was up just 3.3 percent to $530.7 million. But with the local markets in Clark County posting 12.4 percent gain overall, the county finished February 5.55 percent up.